From NAMM 2019: Lowden Guitars now offering Macassar Ebony

From NAMM 2019: Lowden Guitars now offering Macassar Ebony

Daniel Odle

Lowden’s lineup of instruments arguably needs no modification, but George Lowden seems determined to continue to impress his ever-widening demographic. There’s a new face in town for Lowden and it’s stunning. Just announced at NAMM 2019 in Anaheim, California, Lowden Guitars will now be offering the beautiful Macassar Ebony as a tonewood choice for several models of guitars.

While the spotlight for Lowden may still be shining bright on their recent partnership with Ed Sheeran and their new "Sheeran" line of guitars (Click HERE to read more) aimed at getting quality instruments into the hands of the lesser investor, those already fanatics of Lowden’s creations now have a new tone wood to choose from. For now, just the F-50, F-50C and GL-10C models will feature the new choice combination. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you prefer the rich and dark look of the Sinker Redwood top or the contrasting Alpine Spruce as the compliment to the Macassar Ebony back and sides. Personally, I say the F-50C has it in the bag – Take a look!

For me, I like to put Macassar Ebony and Hawaiian Koa in similar categories even though they don’t share all the same tonal qualities. Both woods are visually remarkable and both can take a significant amount of time to “open up.” In my recent blog about Koa, I explained how many experience an entirely new guitar after playing for several months, and as it turns out, this ebony works in a very similar way. Macassar is a dense hardwood known to be clear and loud. With it liking to be played with more energy, you’ll often find this Ebony paired with a softer top wood. In the case of Lowden’s F-50 and F-50C we have Alpine Spruce and Sinker Redwood, creating a balanced sound with the harder Macassar. Striped ebony is the most rare and sought after of the Macassar Ebony varieties with a white to tan background and high-contrast black striping. From what I’ve seen from Lowden’s samples at NAMM, they’ve gotten their hands on some of the rarest.

I’ve come across the question as to why we don’t see Macassar Ebony used as a top wood and there’s a mixed response. Some believe this Ebony would work “okay” but it’s appearance would far outshine its performance. The density of the wood alone is said to have a dampening effect on the guitar when used as a top wood. Others, however, claim there would be no success at all and that using a piece of marble would prove equally inadequate. As the back and sides, however, Macassar Ebony is known to be quite successful as a loud, almost booming addition to a properly balanced guitar, and the engineers at Lowden are likely well-aware of the lucrative combination.

While only time will tell which models the Macassar will venture on to, I’d like to take a closer look at the F-50 and F-50C.

Both the Lowden F-50 MAC/SRW (Sinker Redwood over Macassar Ebony) and Lowden F-50C MAC/AS (Alpine Spruce over Macassar Ebony) will be available in all sizes (O, F, S and WL). Each features a master grade tone wood and have a matching front and back headfacing. On both models you’ll find an Abalone soundhole edge rosette as well as Waverly tuners. For those wanting even more from their instrument, the F-50 and F-50C models have optional inlays for both the headstock and side of the heel. The fingerboard also can include a beautiful leaf abalone inlay at the player’s request. Other optional features include a soundbox bevel, cutaway, 12 string fan fret, figured Maple neck (5 piece with Rosewood splices), custom necks and gold Waverly tuners. Needless to say, it’s easy for anyone to make one of these guitars their very own.

If you'd like to hear this new combination of beautiful woods for yourself, stop by Heartbreaker Guitars in the beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada, a proud Lowden Guitars dealer.  The Macassar Ebony is scheduled to be in the shop this February of 2019!  You're also welcome to visit them online HERE at HeartbreakerGuitars.com to see their entire Lowden collection.  A quick video below produced by Lowden themselves will give you your first assurance that Lowden has once again added to their collection of guitars that sound as good as they look.  

 

Daniel Odle
DannyOdle@gmail.com
Heartbreaker Guitars Contributor